Air Mails of New Zealand

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NEW HORIZONS

The pioneering spirit of New Zealanders came to the fore at the end of the nineteenth century when flight was just a new idea.
The Great Barrier Pigeongram Service was the forerunner to air mail in New Zealand.

This site looks at some of the milestones in New Zealand's air mail & aviation history and is dedicated to those whom, with determination and great fortitude shaped it. Grateful thanks to the many who have spent much time and effort compiling a magnificent historical record of our pioneers endeavours, for without their dedication, there would not be a record for those of us interested in this engrossing subject to consult.

Survey, special, and first flights have been fastidiously documented by those of the NZ Air Mail Society to give a great timeline of New Zealand's aeronautical and postal history.
Not only is the documentary of these events available in numerous books by the Air Mail Society of New Zealand, but the exciting pasttime of flight cover collecting is thriving, with the hobby being enjoyed by thousands of people around the world.

The collecting of New Zealand flight covers has international appeal because of the country's relatively small size, isolation, and attractive stamps that have been produced over the years. The various aspects of "airmail cover" collecting include airmail and cinderella labels, the timestamp franks applied by post offices, first flights, "crash" covers, signatures of famous aviators, and the many stamp varieties, including early "Air Mail" stamp sets issued by NZ Post.

The story began in 1897, when the first pigeongram left Great Barrier Island for Auckland.
At the time of this first airmail one could not have envisaged the tremendous changes that would take place over the following century.

In 1911, 9-26 September, the First UK Aerial Post flights took place between London and Windsor to commemorate the Coronation of King George V.
Cards and letters addressed to New Zealand were carried on these flights.

In 1914, New Zealand's first unofficial air mail was dropped by pioneer aviator J.W.H. Scotland from his Caudron biplane.

On December 6, 1919, Capt. Euan Dickson dropped advertising circulars over the city of Christchurch.

The first official airmail flight took place December 16, 1919, by another pioneer aviator George B. Bolt who, in a Boeing seaplane, delivered a quantity of letters from Auckland to Dargaville.

Trial and special flights were also undertaken until 1922 with some large amounts of mail being delivered.

In January, 1928, the first flight from Australia to New Zealand ended in disaster. Later in the year the "Southern Cross" piloted by Kingsford Smith attempted the crossing. In the years that followed a number of epic journeys were undertaken by people with courage and determination second to none.

On December 17, 1929, flights by the Permanent Air Force were made to the stricken area of Karamea, near the top of the West Coast of the South Island, after a large earthquake hit the area.

In February, 1931, a number of earthquakes devastated the Napier-Hastings-Wairoa area in the North Island.

During the 1930's the aviation industry flourished - not only in New Zealand, but throughout the world.


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The information used on this site has been sourced
from the following three publications:


"THE AIR MAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume One,
THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS"
(1897-1955)
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"AIRMAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume Two,
THE OVERSEAS FLIGHTS
1928-1940"
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"THE NEW ZEALAND AIRMAIL CATALOGUE" Third Edition, 2009
(editor: MIKE SHAND) Author JAMES A. STAPLETON


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO THE PUBLISHER

Kind permission for their material to be used on this website
has been granted by:

THE AIR MAIL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND Inc,
Box 29-144, Fendalton,
Christchurch,
New Zealand

Air Mail Society of New Zealand website

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